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Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Posted in Blog, Money

This year the hubs and I decided that we needed to have a low key Valentine’s Day. Which is hard for me because I’m the type of person who celebrates every holiday with a Bang! I love the fancy 3-course romantic dinner with candles and roses and a violin player at our table (ok, never had the last part). But, with money tight this year, that means dinner at home, and honestly, I’m tired and fighting a cold so that might mean pizza. Then I got to thinking and my hubby and I decided to still make it special.

So here’s how we decided to do Valentine’s Day on a Budget.

1. Homemade cards

Do not go to the store and buy a $9.99 card. Please. We agreed to make each other a card from materials at home. So, I got some construction paper from the playroom and made a little pop-up valentine. FREE.

2. Pick your own flowers

Flowers are ridiculously priced on Valentine’s Day. It’s absurd! So we agreed that we would pick each other flowers from our garden. Only one problem. It’s winter and there aren’t any flowers in our garden. So, I challenged him to pick me a rose from the neighbor’s house. Let’s see if he does it!

3. Dinner at home

Instead of paying $200 for a fancy meal out, we decided to eat at home. My hubby requested heart-shaped burgers so I’m going to have to see if I can actually put that together. Also, drink the wine that’s been sitting in your pantry for a year! It’s time to take it out and try it.

4. Movie night

Ok, I love staying in and having popcorn and watching a good movie. Rent one on your tv and cuddle up on the couch after the kiddies go to bed. It’s almost like a movie theater, right?

5. Girl Scout cookies

Every girl loves chocolate on Valentine’s Day, so why not give back to a good cause? I treated myself to some Thin Mints a couple days ago and that’ll be perfect for a Valentine’s Day dessert!

6. Coupons

Instead of jewels or watches, give each other coupons. You can make them that day and they can say things like “Good for one back massage” or “Good for one night out with the boys”. Think of things that are creative that your hubby would really appreciate, not just “Good for one free hug” (lame).

7. Put the phones down!

Oh man, this is a big pet peeve of mine. My hubby and I are both so attached to our phones it’s ridiculous. Please, do yourselves both a favor and put the electronics away. Instead, look at each other (what?! You be crazy!!) and have a real conversation. Talk about the first time you eat or your first Valentine’s Day together. Tell each other “I love you”. Be romantic. All of that is free.

There you go. 7 free or easy ways you can celebrate Valentine’s Day on a Budget. You don’t have to be rich in money. Just remember you are rich in love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Stay Sane as a SAHM Interview with Katie Pickett of Joyful Messes

Welcome to my Stay Sane as a SAHM interview series! Every Friday I will interview another SAHM and share it here with you. I absolutely love getting the insights and perspectives of other stay at home moms.

Because we are all in this together.

We are showing stay at home moms that we are strong, smart, and savvy and just trying to figure out what it means to “have it all”.

Being a stay at home mom (aka Millennial Housewife) can be isolating and hard at times. It’s not easy to navigate the waters of being home, changing diapers, cleaning up spills, and doing laundry without any adult contact until your hubby comes home.

That’s why I wanted to give you the chance to see how other Millennial Housewives do it.

You are not alone. There are so many of us out there. WE can form a community to support and trust one another.

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie Pickett with Joyful Messes and Kate’s Web Design Studio. She has over three years professionally designing websites and marketing businesses. She began coding, designing, and studying UX (user experience) while blogging in Norway. The weather was frighteningly cold, so she sat behind the computer learning, analyzing and creating her blog. The light bulb turned on when she realized the same principles are used to create profitable websites and build online brands. She is raising three rambunctious little boys. She starts her mornings early and does most of her design work in the late evenings when her mind is eager for a creative outlet. She recently started her blog Joyful Messes where she shares her personal stories, lessons learned, faith, fitness, fashion and more to help spread joy throughout our days in motherhood.

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How to Be Productive When Your Favorite Show is On

Posted in Blog, Parenting

Day 28-8:51 pm: Ok, I have to admit something. I’ve joined Bachelor Nation. Yes, I’ve started watching The Bachelor. I’m not proud of it, but I’ll at least own it. Ever since my sister insisted on watching an episode of The Bachelor in Ben’s season, I then had to watch The Bachelorette and then Bachelor in Paradise. Argh! It’s so catchy! So, since I’ve started watching it, I’ve noticed my productivity had gone down a bit. At nap time when I was working on the blog or job searching, I put on my DVR recording of the show in the “background” and then after the 2 hours find I’ve gotten nothing done. Do you do that too? So, I’ve realized I need to be more productive.

Here are some ways to be productive when your favorite show is on.

Alright, the first thing you have to do is TURN IT OFF! Yes, I’m quite aware you want to see what crazy sh*t comes out of Corinne’s mouth next, but really, do yourself a favor and just turn it off. At least, for a little while.

Give yourself permission to watch a limited amount of it. I don’t mean to start binge watching past seasons. Allow yourself 2 hours to catch up once a week. So, let’s say, Tuesday afternoon or evening. Then pledge to do your work, or get stuff done around the house the rest of the week. Trust me, you’ll start looking forward to Tuesdays and it will come to be a “special treat”.

Make a “night” of it. If your favorite show is on every Monday night, invite some friends over to watch it. Open a bottle of wine, and make it a special night with friends. That way you will get your fix, and then have the rest of the week to get your important stuff done.

Pick and choose your shows carefully. There are so many new shows on Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and regular channels that I want to watch I just can’t keep up! And, I really don’t have the time. So pick and choose which shows you really want to get involved in. I have a few that I follow that are on at different times of the year so it seems to work itself out. I try not to be watching more than 2-3 shows during each season. My favorites so far are Once Upon a Time, Modern Family, American Housewife, The Bachelor, and some rotating action show that I can watch with my hubby.

Just be careful that you don’t have the TV on all day in the background. I know it’s nice to have the white noise, but I find that I am way less productive. Turn it off and put some music on instead. You’ll get way more done.

So, enjoy your shows and remember not to watch too much!


Don’t Compare Birthday Parties

Posted in Blog, Parenting

Day 27-9:57 pm: It’s just the beginning of the year and already we have been invited to a bunch of birthday parties for our friend’s kids. They are so much fun, and my toddler loves going to them. But for a family like us who doesn’t have a ton of money to spend, it’s really hard not to start comparing your birthday capabilities with others. My point is:

Don’t compare birthday parties.

We see it all the time on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. The “perfect” birthday parties people throw for their kids. They have live entertainment, a cake the size of a dresser, peacocks, and their perfect little baby dressed in designer clothes. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I think they are put there just to make us all feel bad. Yet, when birthday season rolls around, I can’t help but look to those professional photos for inspiration. They are just so pretty! And, I really do want to provide something as beautiful as that for my little one.

But, something you have to remember is: the kids don’t care! Not until they’re older at least. But a toddler won’t care if they have Lady GaGa perform at their party or you dressed up like a princess. And let me tell you, they would way rather have you dress up as a princess. They just want to have fun and eat some cake with their friends.

Let me give you an example. We went to 2 birthday parties on the same day recently. Yes, it was crazy. The first party went all out. They had the Thomas the Train custom cakes, tons of food, matching decor, and train rides. Yes, they rented a kids train and offered unlimited train rides around the neighborhood. They birthday boys literally stayed on the train for 2 hours and loved it. All the kids thought it was amazing. They also had a bounce house the perfect size for toddlers and the kids had just as much fun in that.

The next birthday party was at Round Table. They had a cute little play gym, some pizza, and a nice cake from Safeway. It was nothing fancy, but it was nice. And guess what. My toddler had just as much fun running around Round Table as she did at the other party. All she cared about was playing with her friends.

Both parties were great and we had a blast at both. But, I think we should learn a little lesson from our toddlers.

It doesn’t matter what is at the party, as long as there are good friends to share it with.

I just love the little lessons our kids teach us. Don’t you?